MICHAEL V. LEE, A.I.A.
President, Michael Lee Design / MLD Worldwide
Michael's career in “Experience Design” has spanned over 38 years. He has built a reputation as a creative director, master planner, designer and architect on high-pressure, world-class projects. He has extensive experience in all phases of development for museums, theme parks, cultural entertainment centers, water parks, resorts, theaters, RD&E and other types of experience-based leisure, recreation and education projects.
In the early 1970’s he was a professor of Art & Design at California State University, Fullerton, where he advocated "Design Thinking" and was the co-founder of the Environmental Studies Department, one of the first successful interdisciplinary environment-oriented programs of its kind in the U.S. As a licensed architect he has been a principal in several architectural and engineering firms, including Walker-Lee which produced award-winning projects for golf, resort and leisure projects of over $500 million.
He has designed hardware for equipment manufacturers including Sanyo and Occidental . He has won awards from the Hong Kong Downtown Merchants Association for his creative productions of seasonal events including the yearly Christmas Celebration (’94-’99) at Pacific Place, one of the largest and most prestigious shopping venues in south-east Asia. He has also been honored for “Innovation in the Use of New Materials” by General Electric Company and was the recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence.
As Director of Design for LucasArts Attractions, a division of Industrial Light and Magic (a George Lucas Company now owned by Disney), he lead a team of world-class producers, planners and designers who produced attractions for Universal Studios and other major entertainment companies. In 1989 Michael launched Michael Lee Design and MLD Productions for consulting, planning, designing, constructing and managing projects for a wide variety of clients worldwide including Warner Bros., Children’s Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop), Harrison Price, Paramount, Atlantis Resorts, Smithsonian Institution, Swire Properties, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Alabama-Coushatta Indians and many others. For more than 20 years Mike was mentored by Harrison "Buzz" Price, who was the economist that founded Economic Research Associates (now AECom) and advised Walt Disney as to the economic feasibility of all the Disney Parks. Mike was instrumental in helping Buzz establish the "Charrette" as a quick, inexpensive and effective process to establish a project vision. He has been President or Chairman of several development companies.
At MLD, Mike directs a team of seasoned artists, designers, planners, managers, architects and engineers, and in association with other professionals such as economists, scientists, constructors and technical experts, specialize in creating unique, compelling, high-quality, sustainable entertainment and learning experiences for the enjoyment and edification of young and old alike. MLD has been a pioneer in the design of rapid delivery systems for experience based projects. He has been an investor and board member of several entrepreneurial ventures developing entertainment, learning, leisure and resort concepts. Michael has been a featured speaker at meetings of the American Museum Association, International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions at other industry conferences and on several radio and TV programs. He is past President of the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects. His story is told in the book "Passion for Excellence". He has taught design at two universities. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Brigham Young University and a Master of Fine Arts in Design from the University of California at Los Angeles.